by Kate Heyhoe
Oktoberfest season brings specialty beer drinking to the bar, but beer in the kitchen is too often neglected. I don't mean just offering the cook a few slurps of nutty brown ale, but rather using beers and their frothy friends to ramp up flavors in ways that water, broth, wine and liquors cannot.
Ales, stouts, bocks, pilsners, and other brews can imbue malty, yeasty, sweet and even fruity tones to everything from soups to desserts. The biggest challenge in cooking with beer is to prevent bitterness from overpowering other flavors. It's best to add the more bitter beers (ones with more hops) to a dish at the end of cooking, as the more they reduce, the more pronounced the bitterness.
Besides being used as a boiling and steaming medium (as for shellfish and sausages), beer is a natural for marinades and deglazing, and pairs beautifully with mustard, honey, and seafood. Many microbreweries produce beers with unusual flavors, like raspberry, lemon or coffee, lending themselves well to game or dessert sauces. Distinctive beer and rich cheeses make exotic combinations that need a hearty bread and little else to make the meal complete. Beer batter for deep-frying is a natural, producing a light, crisp, and crunchy coating, and beer-braised cuts of pork and beef turn out tender and deep flavored, with a syrupy maltiness.
If you're getting a thirst for beer on the plate, check out the links below for tips and recipes that are expressly designed for you to chew your brew.
Basic Beer BBQ Mop
Beer-Braised Brat Sandwiches
Corned Beef and Cabbage in Ale
Crunchy Blue Cheese Bread Croutons
Cuban Pork with Pineapple
Étoufée with Sausage and Shrimp
Flemish Beef Stew Cooked in Beer
Grilled Salmon with Chermoula Sauce
Sharp Ale Cheese
Pork Chops in Beer
Potatoes in Beer
Texas Cowboy Sour Beer Punch
Kate's Global Kitchen for October 2004:
10/01/04 99 Bottles of Beer, Hurrah!
10/08/04 Odd and Unusual Cooking Techniques
10/15/04 Slow Cooker, Crock-Pot Round-Up
10/22/04 A Kinder, Gentler Halloween
10/29/04 I Ain't No Vampire ('Cause Garlic Tastes Good to Me)
Copyright © 2004, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created October 2004
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